In a move that had been rumored for the last few weeks, former U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner has assumed the role as chief of staff for Gov. Kay Ivey.
Last November after Ivey was elected to a full term, Bonner was named a senior adviser to Ivey.
Bonner is replacing outgoing chief of staff Steve Pelham, who will become Auburn University’s vice president for economic development and the chief of staff to Auburn University President Steven Leath.
It was a day of celebration, unity and tremendous optimism as Governor Kay Ivey and other statewide elected officials were officially sworn into office on Monday.
The weather played into the symbolism of the occasion, as a cold, overcast day – a storm almost certainly imminent – gradually became sunnier and sunnier as the afternoon pushed on, much like the outlook of the state under Ivey’s steady guidance.
Political insiders and everyday Alabamians from every nook and cranny of the state gathered in front of the Alabama State Capitol steps for the inauguration ceremony, which began promptly at 10:00 a.m. From the state’s richest man to the single mom who checked her little girls out of school just to see Ivey’s historic oath of office, it was a day that transcended the lines that divide us.
Because Ivey’s inauguration message of “Keep Alabama Growing” is a theme meant for all. It is a message of hope – that even a little girl from Camden, Alabama can rise to be duly elected as the state’s chief executive through hard work and perseverance.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff to honor Birmingham Police Sgt. Wytasha Carter, who was killed in the line of duty on Sunday.
“I am directing flags be flown at half-staff as a mark of respect for Birmingham Police Sergeant Wytasha Carter who was killed in the line of duty early Sunday, January 13, 2019,” Ivey said in a statement. “Sergeant Carter laid down his life protecting the people of Birmingham, and the entire state of Alabama mourns this tremendous loss.”
"Frontier Airlines will begin direct flights from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on April 11, the airline announced today. Frontier Airlines will start by offering direct service to Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia from Birmingham. Introductory prices will start at $39."
"At 87, Clint Eastwood is not only trying new things, he’s trying daring new things, and his new film 15:17 to Paris represents one of the most audacious gambits of his career. To dramatize the tale of three Americans who tackled and subdued a heavily armed Islamist terrorist on a train out of Amsterdam in 2015, Eastwood cast the young men, none of whom had professional acting experience, as themselves. It’s a decision with little precedent in the entire history of motion pictures."
— Ocasio-Cortez received a lot of attention when she called the president a racist on “60 Minutes,” but when Trump was asked about this attack he dismissively waved his hand and said, “Who cares?”
— Senate Democrats like Doug Jones (D-AL) are showing they are tiring of attention-grabbing antics by “AOC,” saying, “When it gets time to get things done, that’s what people are going to be looking at — they’re going to be looking at the middle-of-the-roaders because it’s the only way to get anything done.”
— Senator Romney has become the latest in a long line of Republicans to criticize King, saying, “I think he ought to step aside and I think Congress ought to make it very clear he has no place there.” King has now lost all his committee assignments.
— The response by the media and the left is quite different in regards to freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). Her support from anti-Semitic supporters goes unquestioned, as does her support for the boycott Israel movement. She smeared members of Congress and defended Marc Lamont Hill after he was fired for calling for the destruction of Israel.
— Two of the most recent scandalized governors Robert Bentley (R) and released felon Don Siegelman (D) were given a place of honor at the swearing-in ceremony of the first female Republican governor in the state’s history.
— Ivey invited the former governors and they joined other governors Bob Riley and Jim Folsom, Jr. near the stage.
— Gov. Ivey channeled former Governor Lurleen Wallace (D), who called for funding for roads, saying Monday, “Today, I follow in Gov. Lurleen Wallace’s footsteps in many ways and make the same ask to the members of the Alabama Legislature.”
— In a call for bipartisanship, Ivey called for everyone to come together to get the new higher gas tax passed. She outlined, “If we work on them together – Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals – then today’s challenges can be looked upon as tomorrow’s accomplishments.”
— With no end in sight, the president declared he will “never back down” because he is doing what he pledged, adding, “I’m not interested. I want to get it solved. I don’t want to just delay it. I want to get it solved.”
Mo Brooks calls on President Trump to declare a national emergency to fix border
(Congressman Mo Brooks/Facebook)
As the partial government shutdown drags into the 24th day, members of Congress on both sides are seeking a way out of the quagmire.
Most observers seem to believe that there are few options that are possible at this point. Democrats have little reason to cave while the media has provided them cover for their inaction. The polling is indicating that is working.
President Donald Trump believes this is his last chance to get any real movement on his core campaign promises of building a wall. Neither side’s supporters are going to punish them for sticking to these positions.
This leaves one option, according to Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville): National emergency declaration.
Is it legal? The courts will decide. Will it start a chain reaction of executive overreach? The future will decide that. Of course, many will ignore former President Barack Obama’s actions on DREAMers.
Some want the president to act now to declare a national emergency and bring this shutdown to an end.
While speaking to WVNN, Mo Brooks called on the president to declare a national emergency.
“The president of the United States should declare a national emergency based on the loss of life, American lives, the thousands per year, direct and indirect, the homicides,” Brooks said on “The Dale Jackson Show.”
He added, “You’ve got roughly 70,000 drug overdoses. A significant part of those drugs that cause those deaths on American soil come across our porous southern border.”
Brooks explained the difference he sees between how Obama used his executive authority and how Trump could, “President Barack Obama, on occasion, exercised executive authority in direct conflict with the United States Code, and direct conflict with the laws, expressed laws of the United States of America. That’s when you’ve gone too far.”
Brooks said he believes Trump has this authority.
He explained, “There is no law that President Trump would be violating by declaring a national emergency because of our porous southern border.”
This option is a complete cop-out for everyone involved. Congress doesn’t have to compromise and the president doesn’t have to cave. Because of this, it will probably be what we end up seeing happen.
— The SPLC is the latest in a long list of groups breaking away from the Women’s March over the anti-Semitism expressed by the group, as well as its alliance with the National of Islam and Louis Farakahn.
— Major Democratic groups and newly elected representatives continue to support the march and its leaders, which could create an issue for Democrats if the media largely decide to stop ignoring it.
6. The Democrat field continues to grow as Americans ask, “Who are these people?”
— A group of 39 Democratic members of Congress went to Puerto Rico on a chartered jet to party with lobbyists on the beach and see a special performance of “Hamilton” with ticket prices of $5,000, while some of the new Democratic blood in Congress is frustrated with the lack of strategy from their leaders.
— White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders criticized the trip on Twitter, saying, “Democrats in Congress are so alarmed about federal workers not getting paid they’re partying on the beach instead of negotiating a compromise to reopen the government and secure the border.”
— The FBI reportedly launched the investigation after some in the bureau became concerned that the president was acting in Russia’s interests by firing Comey. This includes people who have since left the bureau for cause, retired or have been demoted, according to a Fox News source.
— Sanders was the top senator for the 11th month in a row with a 64 percent approval rating. Not surprisingly, outgoing Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) was the least popular senator in the country, which would explain why he didn’t run for re-election.
— Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Doug Jones (D-AL) both had approval ratings in the 40s, with Shelby’s approval at 45 and Jones at 40 percent respectively.
— President Trump’s former attorney will testify in a public hearing in February before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about his previous lies before Congress in regard to his work for Trump.
— Cohen is expected to testify to issues involving President Trump paying off women and has hinted there might be more for him to tell about the Russia investigation.
— The bills tackle the issue of illegal immigration by allowing donations for the wall, ending catch-and-release programs, ending birthright citizenship, penalizing those who overstay their visas and banning sanctuary cities.
— The bills have very little chance of passing a Democrat-controlled chamber, but Brooks said, “I put the interests of Americans above those of illegal aliens.”
— Senator Jones has finally officially asked for the federal government to investigate Democrat donor dirty tricks, which included “false flag” Facebook campaigns and planting Russian bots on Roy Moore’s social media and then alerting the media to their existence.
— The tactics used during Jones’ campaign were also utilized in the 2018 midterms to suppress Republican votes, which cast doubts on claims that they were just a study and not meant to affect elections by deterring suburban white male voters from casting ballots.
2. Republicans are pushing President Donald Trump to quickly declare a national emergency to build the wall, which would make it our 32nd national emergency we are currently under
— Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says the Democrats’ “refusal to negotiate” has made it clear that “It is time for President Trump to use emergency powers to fund the construction of a border wall/barrier.”
— The Trump White House is still looking into using the power they believe is available to them, with Trump all but telegraphing it by telling reporters, “If we don’t make a deal, I would say it would be very surprising to me that I would not declare a national emergency and just fund it through the various mechanisms.”
— Roughly 800,000 federal employees will not receive their $2.2 billion due to them today. This includes those who have been working since the shutdown started, but Mo Brooks has filed a bill to get those who are working paid.
— A second government union has sued the federal government in attempt to get the government back open, The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which represents 150,000 members at 33 federal agencies, is claiming its employees are illegally being forced to work without pay.
7 Things: Trump walks out of meeting with Schumer and Pelosi, Democrat ‘false flag’ operations didn’t stop in Alabama in 2017, Alabama congressmen support Trump on the border and more …
7. Alabama lawmakers are seeking a legislative solution to the embarrassing situation with Maori Davenport’s situation with the Alabama High School Athletic Association
— The AHSAA suspended the star player over an errant payment from USA Basketball and has, up to this point, refused to revisit the case stating the current rules don’t allow it.
— Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette) has proposed legislation that would address the suspension and the current make-up of the AHSAA board by forcing all eligibility issues to be addressed by the State Board of Education and require 25 percent of those on the board to be appointed by the same board.
— Ocasio-Cortez originally hinted that the president was a racist and talking about dog whistles. She has now doubled-down with some factually inaccurate claims about the president defending Neo-Nazis who murdered a woman in Charlottesville, calling Mexicans “rapists,” banning Muslims and ending her tweet with calling the president is a “racist.”
— Rep. Brooks stated he believes that she is held in low regard in DC, even if she is a darling of the far left and the media. Brooks said, “She is somewhat nutty. She has a low respect in Washington, DC by both parties, I might add. However, she does have influence with a significant segment of the American public.”
— Henry has given notice that he plans to change his plea from not guilty to guilty in a federal case, which indicates that a plea deal has been brokered.
— The original charges surrounded allegations of kickbacks and a conspiracy to defraud Medicaid. It alleged a company owned by Henry that provided chronic care management to patients charged the doctor substantially less than the previous firm that had the chronic care services contract but they would get a bigger reimbursement from Medicaid.
— Their analysis indicates that the average cost of an illegal immigrant for taxpayers is $82,191 over the course of their lifetime. Another analysis by the Institute for Defense Analyses says there are 1.95 to 2.28 interactions between illegal immigrants and law enforcement for every successful illegal crossing, which means there were 170,000 to 200,000 successful illegal crossings in 2018.
— CIS argues that the U.S. would be able to pay for the border wall if it was able to stop three to four percent of would-be illegal immigrants on the U.S./Mexico border. It is currently estimated that 60,000 come in a month and 2 million will enter over the next decade.
3. Alabama congressmen support President Donald Trump and his position on the government shutdown and border issues
— Rep. Bradley Byrne wrote Trump a letter voicing support for his border speech telling the president, “[T]hank you for standing up for our communities and for the American people. Please know that this Member of Congress will stand with you to see your proposals enacted into law.”
— Rep. Mo Brooks laid out the dangers of illegal immigration in a speech on the floor of the United State House of Representatives where he stated, “[O]ver the past two years, illegal aliens have averaged 50,000 physical assaults, 15,000 sex crimes, and 2,000 killings per year . . . all in America!”
2. Democrat “false flag” operations did not end in Alabama’s U.S. Senate special election — they went on in 2018 as well
— Tech billionaire Reid Hoffman, who funded the efforts to mislead voters and suppress Republican turnout in Alabama, also created misleading Facebook pages appearing to be disgruntled conservatives, going as far as to purchase ads to perpetuate their fraud.
— The pages were managed by American Engagement Technologies, founded by Obama operatives and used the “The Daily Real” and “Today’s Nation” to buy ads that deceptively encouraged GOP voters to skip the midterm elections.
— Brooks drew a clear distinction between furloughed employees who are sent home and federal employees who still have to show up to work like TSA agents and border patrol agents, who still must come to work even though paychecks are frozen.
— The total tally for Speaker McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) was 98-1 with Rep. Mary Moore (D-Birmingham) casting the only “no” vote. The speaker called on legislators to serve their constituents and not themselves, saying, “As a legislator, you have two choices before you. You can choose to be guided by your own ambitions, desires and personal interests, or you can choose to be led by a desire to make Alabama a better place for the constituents you represent.”
— In the Alabama Senate, senators of both parties unanimously re-elected President Pro Tempore Del Marsh (R-Anniston) by a vote of 32-0. This is Marsh’s third consecutive term. Marsh tweeted his vision moving forward, saying, “I look forward to working with Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed, Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton and all of my colleagues in the Legislature as well as Governor Ivey and Lt. Governor Ainsworth as we tackle the tough issues facing Alabama and continue passing balanced budgets and conservative pro-growth policies that have led to an unprecedented record-setting economy.”
— President Trump’s approval rating has dropped from 62 percent in 2016 to 58 percent while his disapproval has climbed from 26 to 37 percent. That marks a net 15 points difference from when he was elected in 2016.
— Liberal Democrats have seen their power in the Democratic Party grow significantly over the last 25 years. In 1994, only 25 percent of Democrats saw themselves as “liberals.” Today, that number is 51 percent. Conservatives still outnumber liberals 35 percent to 26 percent overall.
— To make matters worse, Nadler also recklessly stated the president was attempting to become a dictator, explaining, “I do not believe the courts will permit it, and we would certainly oppose any attempt by the president to make himself a king, a tyrant, by saying he can appropriate money without Congress.”
— The president’s Oval Office speech touched on those killed by illegal aliens, the crime they bring, the drugs that flow over the border, the Democrats previous support for border walls, the violence people face in transit to the border and the sexual assaults one-third of women making the journey face.
— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded by claiming the president is having a “temper tantrum,” said he is holding federal workers hostage, called the issue a “humanitarian crisis,” claimed they are for border security and demanded that he re-open the government.
— Back-to-back championships escaped Alabama’s grasp as Tua Tagovailoa threw a pick-six and it all appeared to go downhill from there, leading to Alabama’s largest loss in the Saban-era.
— The 44 points scored by Clemson are the most points Alabama has given up in years and Coach Nick Saban signaled to many that this game was over after a desperation fake field goal in the third quarter when the game truly got out of hand.
— Charles Henderson High School senior Maori Davenport has been suspended from her basketball team for a year because USA Basketball sent her a check, she cashed it and when the error was pointed, out she returned it. But this was still a violation of the rules.
— The controversy bubbled-up after ESPN’s Jay Bilas made an issue of it during the Alabama/Kentucky game this weekend. NoW, State Senate Pro Tempore Del Marsh has called on her to be reinstated. The Alabama High School Athletic Association has not budged.
— The 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice missed arguments for the first time in her 25 years on the bench after doctors removed two cancerous growths from her left lung in mid-December, this is after she broke a few ribs in a fall.
— Justice Ginsburg has shown no signs of stepping down and is expected to return to the bench. She has achieved cult-hero status and some even offered her body parts to extend her life after her surgery.
— House Republican leaders fear that members could cross the aisle and vote for legislation that would reopen the government without funding the border wall. The Democrats will try to get a veto-proof margin to pressure Senate Republicans and the President.
— Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have already signaled they would support efforts to fund portions of the government that are shut down. The local and national media know they are turning the screws on Republican senators with one-sided coverage.
— The IRS may recall a large number of furloughed workers in order to get tax returns processed. The Trump administration says rules will be changed to make funding available to pay them, and acting director of the White House Budget Office Russell Vought said, “The refunds will go out as normal. There is an indefinite appropriation to pay tax refunds.”
— Usually, tax returns are not processed during government shutdowns, but the Trump administration is obviously trying to alleviate whatever pain it can as the government shutdown drags on to day 18 with no end in sight.
— There will be no investigation into the misinformation campaign that mirrored Russian tactics in Alabama that was implemented by Democrats during the election that saw Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) elected to the Senate.
1. President Donald Trump will give a nationwide address on immigration tonight and visit the border on Thursday
— With no end in sight for the government shutdown, President Trump will take to the airwaves to make his case to the American people that there is a “Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border.”
— The 30-day withdrawal from Syria initially changed to a “pause” that would take months. Now, national security adviser John Bolton says the withdrawal is not based on time, but instead said, “[W]e won’t be finally pulled out until ISIS is gone.”
— The U.S. position seems to be contingent not only on the destruction of ISIS, but also the protection of the Kurds and the status of 800 terrorist prisoners of war.
— The Associated Press spoke to multiple decision makers in Alabama and the conclusion is quite simple: the gas tax push is coming.
— Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon said, “The topic of the day would be the gas revenue measure.” Senate Pro-Tem Del Marash added, “What we’ve got to determine what are we willing to bite off at this point in time.”
— Jones told CNN that “even the most progressive” of his constituents would “know better than to use that kind of language” about impeaching President Trump and added, “Let’s go about this the way we need to, and not just work out of this out of frustration and anger.”
— Not only do Jones’ conservative red state constituents not want them pursuing impeachment, even after two years of talk of the president “colluding with Russia,” only 43 percent of Americans want Trump impeached (80 percent of Democrats) while 50 percent do not.
— There were more disinformation campaigns underway to impact the race that eventually elected U.S. Senator Doug Jones than previously reported. The “Dry Alabama” was a fake prohibition campaign meant to portray Roy Moore supporters as prohibitionists, but it was was actually the stealth creation of liberal Democrats.
— Fear not, Democrats are now disavowing. Political scientists are declaring the efforts didn’t matter anyway, which is nuts in a race that was decided by less than 22,000 votes.
— According to Alabama Daily News, there are around 53,000 federal workers who are mostly Department of Defense employees, including roughly 6,500 who work for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs who will not be affected by the shutdown. This represents an overwhelming majority of federal workers in the state.
— But Alabama doesn’t escape the pain altogether as there are 2,300 who work at NASA, 500 at the Department of Justice and 1,000 at the Department of Agriculture. This doesn’t account for the contractors that serve them. There are 2,000-plus contractors alone for NASA.
— The shutdown over the funding of a border wall is now on to day 17 with Trump sticking to his demand for wall funding while Democrats like Senator Doug Jones are saying, “I am not going to give wall money just to give wall money.”
— After a meeting between Vice President Mike Pence and Democrats, Trump tweeted that they are moving closer to a deal with steel. He said, “We are now planning a Steel Barrier rather than concrete.” Democrats disagree saying, “[N]o progress was made”.
— It could be that the location is all the way on the West Coast or it could be the game is the fourth Alabama/Clemson matchup in five years, but if you want to experience another Alabama national championship, the tickets can be had for a good price.
— Ticket scalpers could actually lose money on this game. TicketIQ reports that that $475 tickets are going for as little as $135 in some places and other tickets can be had for on StubHub at $115.
— With the gas tax looming over the next legislative session Governor Ivey signaled she and other leaders have been working on a plan, saying, “I’ve been working with House and Senate leadership to get to the bottom of all of this and come up with a plan.”
— Not everyone is signed on to a new gas tax. Some legislators are preparing to push for $63 million in budgetary versions to be returned to infrastructure needs before asking the citizens for new revenue.
— The media and some Democrats in leadership tried to play down the fervor for impeaching President Donald Trump during the election. But the election is over so members are declaring they want to “Impeach that motherf****r“.
— Showing that Democrats are still hurting over 2016, Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) has proposed abolishing the Electoral College solely because Hillary Clinton lost. He said, “[T]he winner of the popular vote did not win the election because of the distorting effect of the outdated Electoral College. Americans expect and deserve the winner of the popular vote to win office. More than a century ago, we amended our Constitution to provide for the direct election of U.S. Senators. It is past time to directly elect our President and Vice President.”
— Alabama’s retirees now own the sole owner of a chain of newspapers that has 68 daily newspapers and more than 40 non-dailies plus websites in 22 states, including five small papers in Alabama.
— But this bet may not be all bad as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett have purchased newspapers in the last few years.
3. ALGOP chairwoman Terri Lathan joins the chorus of GOP politicians in Alabama to point out how preventable the rape of a child was
— Alabama Congressmen Mo Brooks and Bradley Byrne spoke out about the Shelby County crime, the Republican leader released a statement saying, “Here’s yet another illegal immigrant criminal reality that isn’t in some other state’s backyard, it’s in ours – and it’s heartbreaking as well as infuriating.”
— Lathan also pointed out that an open border put our citizens and lawmakers in danger. She voiced support of the president’s attempts to fix the border while criticizing Democrats, telling Yellowhammer News, “President Trump is trying to fix our broken immigration policy while the Democrats are doing nothing to stop these illegal immigrants from harming our own people as well as placing our law enforcement officers in danger. It is irresponsible to keep fighting the president on this issue for political gain and grandstanding.”
— AG Marshall has now called on the new Congress to fully fund a border wall and highlighted the impact not doing so has had on his state, “I am deeply troubled by the steady stream of dangerous illegal drugs entering my state and the impact it has on our citizens and law enforcement”, adding, “Drug trafficking, human trafficking and many violent crimes committed in Alabama can be traced to criminal elements crossing our country’s borders and the failure of current efforts to secure our border.”
— Marshall criticized Democrats and singled-out Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) by name, stating, “Shame on them and shame on Speaker Pelosi for turning a blind eye to continued security threats to Americans by refusing to fund a border wall and the vital operations of U.S. Homeland Security.”
— Even though Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling the shots, and former-Speaker Paul Ryan is out of the U.S. Capitol, the main decision-makers in this shutdown battle seem no closer to actually opening the government. President Trump says he will not budge on his border demands.
— Speaker Pelosi is attempting to appear to be acting in good faith by choosing to ignore funding any border security while calling a vote Thursday night on a budget plan that funds every shutdown federal agency for the balance of Fiscal Year 2019. This goes nowhere and everyone knows it.
— A state commission tasked with addressing the issues that led to the mass shooting and making suggestions to prevent future shootings unanimously approved a report on Wednesday that calls for some teachers to be armed.
— Last year, Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey created a “School Sentry” program, but no information has been made available about how many school systems or employees have taken part, if any.
— The soon to be senator has drawn the ire of the president of the United States by criticizing his character after seeking an appointment and an endorsement from him. The media is touting him as a new “maverick.”
— The House GOP has an outlier, too. Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) says he will vote with Democrats on a series of rule changes in spite of the fact Republican leadership has threatened “consequences.”
— The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will deliver benefits in January, but if the government remains shut down, the entitlement could not be delivered beyond that.
— An estimated 353,530 households reportedly receive food stamps in Alabama each month. Seventy percent are in families with children and one-third are for families with seniors or those with disabilities, with the average benefit being $118 per month.
— Moore has declared he is not done speaking out, posting on Twitter, “There are many false and misleading accounts on social media about me, it is about time I speak for myself! Come join the growing Conservative movement in Alabama and follow @RealJudgeMoore for more details about how the Dem’s hacked my race! #staytuned”
— Moore is the latest Alabamian to speak up about a tech billionaire, Reid Hoffman, funding an organization that created misleading Facebook pages encouraging Republicans to write-in other candidates and created a narrative of Russians boosting Roy Moore’s campaign on social media that they pushed to friendly media outlets, which parroted it all.
3. Retirement System of Alabama calls for sports gambling and legalized weed
— The RSA made the pitch in its newsletter to it 356,000 members, with a headline that stated, “Alabama Needs Reasonable Taxes to Solve Problems, If Not, We Need to Consider a Lottery, and What Other States Are Doing.”
— Oddly, they advocate for sin taxes like other states have turned towards, saying, “We all have vices. For some, it’s a nightcap; for others it’s betting on sports while puffing on a joint. In what feels like a long time coming, American states are moving toward legalizing the latter. Ten states and Washington, D.C., have sanctioned medicinal and recreational marijuana for those over age 21, and 33 more states allow medicinal use. Sports betting has been fully legalized in six states, with three more on the way, and 15 more with bills pending.”
— A previously deported illegal immigrant has been charged with the first-degree rape of a juvenile in Shelby County and Brooks criticized Democratic leaders for obstructing addressing our border issues. He said, “This sickening crime was entirely avoidable, yet Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer continue to obstruct Republican efforts to secure our border to help prevent awful crimes like this one against Americans.”
— Brooks made news earlier this week with his comments about Democrats having the blood of Americans “on their hands” for failing to secure the border,
— The lack of progress between Trump and Democrat leaders was not much of a surprise. Trump stated, “We are in a shutdown because Democrats refuse to fund border security.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer implored the president to “support reopening the other areas of the government that don’t have to do with the immigration dispute,” which Trump said isn’t happening.
— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, “The Senate will be glad to vote on a measure that the House passes that the president will sign. But we’re not going to vote on anything else.”
— Warren isn’t the first Democrat to officially announce the formation of an exploratory committee.Julian Castro was first, but she is probably one of the bigger names that will attempt to challenge President Donald Trump if she can get through the 40-plus other challengers.
— Warren, who was widely mocked for releasing DNA test results that blew up her entire heritage claim, was dismissed by the president when he was asked beating her. He said, “Well, that I don’t know, you’d have to ask her psychiatrist.”
— The tear gas was used to repel about 150 individuals, some that were trying to breach a fence and others who were throwing rocks are border guards. Border patrol detained 25, while the rest slithered back to Mexico through a hole under the fence
— Less than a week ago, an immigrant police officer lost his life to an illegal immigrant while making a traffic stop. The sheriff of Stanislaus County said California’s sanctuary status made capturing the criminal harder, explaining, “We were prohibited — law enforcement was prohibited because of sanctuary laws that led to the encounter with Officer Singh.”
4. While the focus has been on kids who died while crossing the border and the plight of children in U.S. custody, the dangers of the trip and health issues illegal immigrants bring with them have been largely ignored
— The media has focused like a laser on the trials and tribulations of illegal immigrant children and their treatment once they are caught with their parents in the country. Even as some admit they thought the children would help them get across the border, the implication is that stopping them is inhumane.
— Ignored in this biased coverage is the fact that 400 people died trying to enter the United States in 2018 and the children that made it are seriously ill, with 50 people a day needing urgent medical care for tuberculosis, flu and pregnancy.
— After their leader was banned from the Riverchase Galleria about a dozen people showed up to Marshall’s neighborhood where they walked through the neighborhood for about an hour with bullhorns chanting “Recuse yourself” and “Hands up, don’t shoot.” There is no sign Marshall even acknowledged this absurd behavior.
— President Trump’s ally, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced he felt better about the president’s position after a meeting at the White House. Graham said, “I think we’re in a pause situation where we are reevaluating what’s the best way to achieve the president’s objective of having people pay more and do more.”
— The criticism from within the White House and the Republican Party over the hasty withdrawal, which cost the president his Defense Secretary appears to have worked to change the president’s position, which initially called for a 30-day withdrawal.
— Congressman Mo Brooks puts the blame on Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Pelosi, saying they have “American blood” on their hands for refusing to work on border security. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) says “Nobody’s gonna win this kind of game. Nobody wins in a shutdown. We all lose and we kind of look silly.”
The gas tax push: Ten Alabama highway projects to consider in 2019
(ALDOT/University of Alabama map archives)
Now that it appears state legislators are licking their chops to raise Alabama’s gasoline tax, the question we all should be asking is, “What are we going to get out of it?”
As 2018 wound down, the push for the hike was aggressive, but details were scarce.
Obviously, we all know the big projects that have gotten the bulk of the media attention: I-565 widened from Limestone County to Huntsville, improvements to I-65 from Birmingham to Montgomery, a southern Montgomery bypass and the much-ballyhooed I-10 Mobile Bay bridge.
To get the ball rolling, here are ten not-as-publicized suggestions (in no particular order) for the state legislature to consider as part of a sales pitch to the public.
I can’t believe I’m in my early 40s and we’re still talking about this. For decades, Alabama Highway 261, which extends from Valleydale Road in North Shelby County to the heart of Helena, one of Birmingham’s fastest-growing suburbs, is still a heavily traveled two-lane road.
Back-ups are a commonplace heading in and out of Helena at rush hour. Allegedly, ALDOT is finally working to change that, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
Perhaps improvements to AL 261 could work in tandem with four-laning Morgan Road heading northwest from Helena to I-459, or Shelby County Road 17 heading south to Montevallo.
9. Four-lane AL 53 from Ardmore to Huntsville
For whatever reason when they initially laid out the Interstate Highway System, they put I-65 20 miles to the west of downtown Huntsville. And for decades, this has been one of the Rocket City’s biggest obstacles. For those headed south on I-65, there is I-565.
However, for those headed north to Tennessee and beyond, or coming south to Huntsville, there is Alabama Highway 53, a two-lane road that transitions to Tennessee State Highway 7 in Ardmore, a municipality that straddles the Tennessee-Alabama state line.
Coming from Nashville on I-65, the exit is signed for Ardmore and Huntsville. But depending on the time of day, the day of the week, you might be better off continuing south to US Highway 72 or I-565.
8. Improvements to AL186/U.S. 80 from I-85/Wire Road exit to Phenix City
Once upon a time, U.S. Highway 80 was a significant national east-west thoroughfare. Some of it still is, but the Interstate Highway System has made much of it a backroad. If you’ve traveled east from Tuskegee toward Phenix City, you might have seen some of the remnants of U.S. 80’s hay day, where it splits with U.S. Highway 29.
This portion of U.S. 80 remains useful because it connects Phenix City to Montgomery, and, by extension, Columbus, Ga.
Someday, this could be a part of the proposed Interstate 14, a thoroughfare that could pass through the heart of Alabama, running parallel to U.S. 80 from York to Selma to Montgomery to Phenix City/Columbus, and beyond to Macon, Ga.
7. Four-laning U.S. 84 Andalusia to Mississippi line
U.S. Highway 84 in Alabama has been one of the curiosities of the U.S. Highway System. Old Alabama roadmaps show that it has evolved over the past 90 years.
From time to time, portions have been four-laned from the Georgia-Alabama line to headed west. Bypasses for Enterprise, Elba and Opp have been added over the years. But for whatever reason, the progress has stalled west of Andalusia to Mississippi. Once it crosses the Alabama-Mississippi state line, it continues as a four-lane road through Laurel and Brookhaven all the way to Natchez.
Four-laning the road would once and for all connect Monroeville to the outside world by a four-lane highway. Monroe County’s isolation by automobile has been a chronic complaint since the turn of the century.
It would also connect Choctaw County to the rest of Alabama, which functions more as part of Mississippi these days given its proximity to Meridian.
Throughout its history, Dothan has been somewhat fortunate with its highways. There are five different four-laned routes in all directions, like spokes on a wheel, from Ross Clark Circle, the road that functions as a beltway for Dothan.
When U.S. 231 was four-laned as part of the Florida Short Route in the middle part of the last century, there was something of a boom that extended from Dothan into Florida – roadside produce stands, barbecue joints, tourist attractions. Some of that still exists, but now there are also fireworks stands, lottery ticket terminals and bingo, depending on which side of the state line you are on.
There is a history of that stretch being something of a gateway to Florida for much of the country, and it would be appropriate for some sort of controlled-access spur connecting Interstate 10 to Dothan.
Obviously, this would require cooperation from the state of Florida. People in Houston County seem to want to be connected to the Interstate Highway System, and this might be their best bet.
5. US 278 improvements Cullman-Gadsden-Georgia State line
One of the many roads heading west from Atlanta into Alabama is U.S. Highway 278. Initially, U.S. 278 was probably intended to serve as an alternate route to U.S. 78, which passes through Anniston, Birmingham and Jasper, before it reconnects with U.S. 278 in Hamilton.
Given easy connectivity to Atlanta is a premium for communities in Alabama, four-laning U.S 278 from the Georgia line to Cullman would better the economic prospects for Cherokee and Etowah Counties. Beyond Attalla into Blount and Cullman Counties, the potential four-lane route would be useful as the Birmingham metropolitan area expands northward.
4. U.S. 331 four-laned from Montgomery to Florida state line
If you’re going to anywhere along 30A in Florida from central and northern Alabama, you’ve used U.S. Highway 331 and traveled through Luverne, Brantley, perhaps Opp and DeFuniak Springs, Fla. Likewise, if you’ve had to evacuate from 30A anywhere north because of the threat from a hurricane, you’ve probably made the reverse journey.
This route is for both tourist and public safety reasons. It also might lend a boost to the local economies along U.S. 331, which are victims of the globalization trend that began in the 1990s.
3. North-south thoroughfare improvements on Baldwin County’s Eastern Shore
One of Alabama’s least-known traffic nightmares is any of the north-south routes along the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. On paper, Fairhope is within a stone’s throw of Mobile. But if you’re making that commute up U.S. Highway 98 to Interstate 10 and across the bay, you best allow for an hour of driving time.
There are several ideas on the table to make this better and improvements to I-10 across Mobile Bay from Spanish Fort will undoubtedly help that commute. A new bridge across the bay may also encourage more development in that part of Baldwin County, which will make getting to I-10 that much harder.
2. Four-lane connecting Huntsville to Georgia state line Atlanta-bound
Now that Huntsville is officially one of the “big kids” of Alabama cities, it is odd that there is not a good way to get from there to Atlanta. Put Huntsville to Atlanta in your GPS, and it’s going to suggest taking some backroads.
Huntsville is in a geographical predicament. Natural barriers like the Tennessee River and Sand Mountain prevent a bulldozer from making a straight line between the two cities.
If they started tomorrow, a project like this would take decades to complete. The thing is, they’ve already been talking about it for decades.
1. North-south freeway, parallel to U.S. 43 from Mobile to I-20/59, and beyond up through NW Alabama to the Shoals
There aren’t shortages of east-west routes in Alabama, but there does seem to be a shortage of north-south routes. Consider the path Interstate 65 takes from Mobile to Birmingham. It isn’t a straight line because it takes a humongous northeastern direction so that it passes through Montgomery. Then it heads slightly northwest from Montgomery to Birmingham.
If you draw a straight line from Mobile to Birmingham, the closest you get to downtown Montgomery is 70 miles. Yet, when they laid out the route for U.S. Highway 31, which was the basis for I-65, it passed through Montgomery.
A new north-south route through western Alabama would fix that. If it followed U.S. Highway 43 from Mobile to the Shoals, it could shave time off the journey for those making the trip between two of Alabama’s major cities.
Also, GPS systems sometimes suggest an excursion through Mississippi down U.S. Highway 45 to get to points within the state of Alabama. Yes, to get from Tuscaloosa to Citronelle, the fast way is through Meridian, Miss. and down a four-lane U.S. 45.
The idea of a north-south route through the Black Belt and up through the hill country of northwestern Alabama isn’t a new one. It’s been talked about for decades.
It’s time to show the western half of the state that is north of Mobile and south of Tuscumbia a little love. Granted, aside from Tuscaloosa, there isn’t a whole lot there. However, if we’re going to dump endless sums of money into trying to alleviate poverty in the Black Belt, consider infrastructure, which would be improved access to the rest of the state.
North of Tuscaloosa – ask yourself, when was the last time you were in Lamar County? How about Fayette County? For most, it has probably been a while, if ever. Yet, places like Vernon and Fayette survive as outposts on the Alabama frontier. That seems odd in 2019.
The Tenn-Tomm Waterway, a project which had billions of federal dollars pumped into it over the last half of last century, hasn’t been the expected panacea for West Alabama. Perhaps combined with a controlled-access north-south freeway, that could change and make the areas around Tombigbee River more lucrative for companies looking to build manufacturing facilities.
It is a part of Alabama that sure could use the help.
— LinkedIn billionaire Reid Hoffman helped fund a deceptive social media campaign to impact the 2017 U.S. Senate special election. Now, Hoffman, Senator Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall have called for an investigation into the matter.
— While the group involved attempts to downplay the impact the deceptive ploy had, an internal report for “Project Birmingham” said it “had enormous effect“.
5. The Riverchase Galleria shooting and the fallout from the protests finally give some in Alabama their “Black Lives Matter” moment
— A 12-year-old girl and an 18-year-old man were allegedly shot in the Hoover mall on Thanksgiving evening by Erron Martez Dequan Brown. In the chaos that followed, law enforcement shot and killed Emantic Bradford, Jr., mistakenly identifying him publicly as the shooter immediately afterward.
4. An Alabama politician is involved in a corrupt scheme to harm his constituents, goes to jail and takes his accomplices with him
— Former State Representative Oliver Robinson pleaded guilty in federal court for bribes from a Birmingham lawyer and an Alabama coal company in return for opposing EPA actions in north Birmingham. He received a sentence of 33 months in prison, $169,151 to the IRS and the forfeiture of $390,783.
— Robinson’s cooperation led to the sentencing of Joel Gilbert, a former partner at Balch & Bingham, and David Roberson, the former Drummond Company VP of government affairs, to prison sentences and fines.
— While the nation saw a “blue wave” that took 40 Congressional seats from Republicans, ruby red Alabama actually became even more ruby red, as all statewide offices stayed in the Republican column. They also kept all six of their U.S. House of Representivates seats.
— Alabama Republicans already had a supermajority in the State House and State Senate, but they still picked up one seat and five seats, respectively.
1. Alabama’s Democrats continue to remain in irrelevancy with the mainstream media joining them
— Failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walt Maddox was promoted as the next Doug Jones, but the dysfunction in the Alabama Democratic Party continued to render the party feckless and a non-factor in state politics.
Jackson and Ward are joined by Congressman Mo Brooks to discuss the government shutdown and the border wall.
Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” directed at folks who don’t get that the stock market is not the economy and you can’t cite Trump as the reason for its ups and downs as it benefits you politically.
Review: Sorkin’s Broadway adaptation of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ doesn’t betray Harper Lee’s novel, definitely worth seeing
NEW YORK – Many feared for the worst when news broke earlier this year that an Aaron Sorkin stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” would be opening on Broadway.
In this highly polarized political environment, I shared a suspicion that the Coastal elites behind this production would use Lee’s classic novel to perversely attack President Donald Trump or advance the latest hot-button left-wing cause du jour.
Yet, the temptation to go and find out what form this might take, however, was too much for the Alabamaphile in me to pass up.
So, ticket in hand, I set one rule for myself. Given my political leanings and general disgust for liberal virtue-signaling, I avoided reading the reviews from the professional Broadway watchers and media types.
Why is this presentation of Harper Lee’s signature work important? Obviously, there is the “To Kill a Mockingbird” cult following. More importantly, the novel and its companion “Go Set a Watchman” are important historical documents for the State of Alabama. Lee’s works are, to date, the best offering of life in rural 1930s and 1940s Alabama.
How would entertainment industry heavyweights like screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, producer Scott Rudin and lead actor Jeff Daniels disseminate that history to the tens of thousands who will see this production?
According to the Los Angeles Times’ Nardine Saad, Sorkin’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” has already grossed a record of nearly $1.6 million after its first full week and has an advance of more than $22 million in ticket sales.
Getting to this point wasn’t that easy for Sorkin and producer Scott Rudin. Back in March, Harper Lee’s estate sued Rudin. Lee estate attorney Tonja Carter raised concerns that the script deviated too much from the novel, and thus was in violation of an original agreement to put the story on Broadway.
In the end, the two sides quietly settled their dispute and nine months later, “To Kill a Mockingbird” opened at the Sam S. Shubert Theatre on West 44th Street in midtown Manhattan.
The 7 p.m. day-after-Christmas showing at the theater was a full-house affair, as are most of the shows from now until April. The show isn’t the usual out-of-town fare for tourists you might see at the nearby theaters showing “Frozen” or “Phantom of the Opera.”
The idea of “To Kill a Mockingbird” on Broadway for some may conjure a notion of a musical. Rest assured, Scout and Jem are not singing show tunes in this adaptation.
For the most part, the intellectual integrity of Lee’s novel remains intact. To fully appreciate this show, one would have to be familiar with the “To Kill a Mockingbird” story, which on its own is complex. Sorkin’s version is not chronological, and it isn’t entirely told from the viewpoint of protagonist Scout Finch, the narrator in Lee’s novel.
Sorkin takes his liberties with some of the characters. Calpurnia, the Finch family housekeeper, played by actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson, is much more of an outspoken critic of the racially divided society in Maycomb, Alabama, the setting for the story.
Dill, played by actor Gideon Glick, takes a slightly different form from the character portrayed in the novel and in the 1962 “To Kill a Mockingbird” film. He is more of an older version of Truman Capote than the childhood friend who is believed to be Lee’s basis for the character of Dill.
The hero of the tale Atticus Finch is played by Jeff Daniels, who has reinvented himself as more than just the guy from “Dumb and Dumber” over the last decade. At times, it is a struggle to watch Daniels, who hails from Michigan, pull off a southern accent. Otherwise, his portrayal of Atticus Finch, very much different from Gregory Peck in the 1962 film, works for this setting.
It’s a respectable and professionally done production, as one should expect for any major Broadway show.
As for going out of the way to make a grand proclamation about current affairs, Sorkin does not do that. Antagonist Bob Ewell doesn’t put on a “Make America Great Again” ballcap or anything like that.
Sorkin, however, does make Bob Ewell, played by Frederick Weller, a more hateworthy figure, this time as anti-Semitic, in addition to being drunk and racist.
Other than these few wrinkles, Sorkin is true to Lee’s original story in the “To Kill a Mockingbird” novel. It has comedic elements, but they’re not over the top and don’t detract from the seriousness of the story.
However, one can’t help but wonder if Sorkin was using the end of the play to lay out a different path for Atticus Finch than what was in Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman,” which for some of the theatergoers tainted Harper Lee’s legacy.
If you are planning a trip to New York City and were on the fence about seeing it, it’s worth seeing. It is sure to be more thought-provoking than the bulk of the Disney-ified offerings currently showing on Broadway.
It is not an indictment of modern-day Alabama, nor of conservatives or who conservatives elect. Given American pop culture in 2018, that’s saying something.
On a side note:
As with any of these Broadway spectacles, there are “To Kill a Mockingbird” souvenirs available for purchase at the theater, but this list comes with one curiosity.
In addition to “a portion” of the proceeds from the sales going to the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville, “Trayvon Martin” and the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center also receive a share.
7 Things: Marshall probing ‘Project Birmingham’ and its misinformation campaign, Alabama’s pre-K program is the country’s best, Trump’s lawyer denies reports he went to Prague to meet Russians and more …
— The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released a report showing that 7,836,600 attempted purchases were blocked from “illegal/unlawful alien” buyers.
— This number seems amazingly high considering that we are told there are only 11 million illegal immigrants in the country and they make up a large percentage of the 19 million-plus blocked purchases.
— Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law came in at fourth most conservative, while Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law and the University of Alabama School of Law all picked up accolades for being some of the best law schools in the nation for various reasons.
— All three of the schools also ended up ranked among the 10 most conservative student bodies in the nation. Alabama’s school also received praise from the Princeton Review for “offering a tremendous legal education at an affordable price.”
— Langford’s niece reached out to West to ask for to help with their continued push to get a compassionate release for the ailing mayor who sits in prison for bribery. She wrote, “I’m praying with all my heart that this works. [I’m] sorry to bother you Mrs. West. I’m hoping that you get this in time. My name is Beverly Langford. I’m from Birmingham, Al. My uncle Larry Langford is dying in federal prison. Help for compassionate release please?”
— Kardashian made a big impact on President Donald Trump on a similar matter in June when she convinced him to commute the sentence of a drug-dealing grandmother, Alice Marie Johnson.
3. Report claims Michael Cohen was in Prague colluding with the Russians; he denies
— The report states Cohen’s cell phone pinged off cell-phone towers in Prague and stated that an Eastern European intelligence agency surveilled a conversation where Russians claimed Cohen was there. This report is being cited as proof of collusion.
— Cohen responded to the report with some notable responses including saying he has never been to Prague, responding “No” to questions about being in the Czech Republic, and saying “#Mueller knows everything!”
— A new study shows that Alabama’s First Class Pre-K helps students in math and science and its results show “no evidence of fade out of the benefits of First Class Pre-K over time.”
— Department of Early Childhood Education Secretary Jeana Ross said, “For the 12th consecutive year, Alabama First Class Pre-K is the highest quality, state-funded pre-kindergarten program in the country as recognized by the National Institute for Early Education Research quality benchmarks. There are currently 1,045 First Class Pre-K classrooms statewide serving almost 19,000 four-year-olds, reaching 32% of Alabama’s eligible four-year-old population.”
— Marshall told the Washington Post that he is looking into whether Democrat’s “Project Birmingham’s “Russian tactics” may have violated state law during the 2017 race. Marshall said, “The impact it had on the election is something that’s significant for us to explore, and we’ll go from there.”
— AG Marshall is not the only individual concerned about “Project Birmingham” and its impact on elections. Alabama Senator Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook), has called for investigations by the DOJ, the FEC and Reid Hoffman, the billionaire who funded the project. Hoffman welcomed a federal investigation after apologizing.
— The paper found the anti-Trump daughters of a doctor who claimed that their dad helped now-President Donald Trump avoid military service during the Vietnam War with a phony diagnosis of bone spurs.
— The Times says “a possible explanation has emerged” as the doctors’ kids claim he told them the diagnosis was done “as a favor to his father,” but they offered no evidence of this, drawing the scorn of many that feel this is the anti-Trump media latching on to anything they can find to criticize the president.
— The group’s leaders questionable conduct has long been reported, but until recently, that criticism was brushed off by mainstream outlets. Now, members are acknowledging that phrases like “your people hold all the wealth” were used by the leaders in the organization’s meetings in references to Jews.
— The controversy has received little mainstream attention, but a number of smaller Women’s March chapters have distanced themselves from the national organization, like Washingon State’s director who released a statement saying, “I and my team can’t sit idly by and ignore the antisemitism the four National Team co-chairs have supported and continue to support.”
— Incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is promising investigations into the handling of the deaths are coming with a new Democratic Congress. He declared, “House Democrats will not stand idly by and watch as our nation’s most fundamental values are eroded, while innocent children are held like prisoners in cages and their lives placed at risk.”
— Two young illegal immigrants have lost their lives this month making the dangerous trek from South America. In both cases, the parents put their children in dangerous situations and the children were apprehended in the United States in ill-health.
— U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, (D-Birmingham) says the Federal Bureau of Prisons should let former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford go home on a compassionate release in a statement that read, “During this season of hope, I am calling on the Trump Administration to act with compassion and immediately reduce Mayor Langford’s sentence due to his deteriorating health.”
— Langford, 72, is in critical condition and is said to be near death in a Kentucky prison where he is jailed on bribery charges. Officials said he still “posed a danger to the safety of the community” when they denied his release in November.
— LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman apologized for donating money to a campaign to deceive Alabamians but claimed he didn’t know what they were doing and would not have supported these tactics, stating, “I find the tactics that have been recently reported highly disturbing. For that reason, I am embarrassed by my failure to track AET – the organization I did support – more diligently as it made its own decisions to perhaps fund projects that I would reject.”
— Facebook has suspended five of the accounts that intentionally spread misinformation as part of a plot to help Jones beat Judge Roy Moore in December of 2017.
— The president and first lady visited military members at Joint Base al Asad on Wednesday. He told them he had no plans to withdraw from Iraq, and stated the importance of using Iraq as a base of regional operations. Trump also touched on some domestic issues.
— After the worst Christmas Eve ever where the Dow Jones lost 653 points, the Dow responded by growing 1,068 points, marking the largest single point gain in one day.
— The volatility in the market is probably not over, but the market is no longer headed for the worst December in history because of this spike, which was possible days ago. But, there are a few days left where we could see more massive shifts.
— Langford, 72, is in critical condition and is said to be near death. His attorney stated, “We were told he may not last through the end of the week.” The former mayor was denied a compassionate release in November.
— Several family members of Langford’s family, including his wife, have gone to the federal prison in Kentucky to be near his side as he is serving 15 years on bribery charges.
— Liberal Democrat darling U.S. Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to declare the birth of Jesus was about refugees, tweeting, “Joy to the World! Merry Christmas everyone – here’s to a holiday filled with happiness, family, and love for all people. (Including refugee babies in mangers + their parents.)”
— This interpretation appears every year at Christmas and is based on nothing. Mary and Joseph were participating in the Roman census. You could claim they fled King Herod later, but they still remained in the Roman empire and did not traverse international borders.
— Not many are surprised that Biden polls well against Trump. He is considered a relatively likable blue-collar guy. Also, being Obama’s vice president while he enjoys good numbers post-presidency doesn’t hurt.
— In all three matchups, Trump sits in the 36 or 37 percent, which does not bode well for an incumbent with 100 percent name recognition. But, the Trump attacks will definitely knock the luster off his opponents in a one-on-one race.
— Carlos Chaverst, Jr. cannot go back to the Galleria until December 15, 2019. If he shows up at the mall he will be subject to arrest.
— Under a fake Facebook account using the name “Montez Chaverst,” he wrote, “These type of actions aren’t constitutional and we will vigorously fight the unfair discriminatory practices by both the Galleria and Hoover Police.”
— The Guatemalan child was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, taken to the hospital and thought to have a cold. He had a fever. The boy was released and then returned later after vomiting, and died.
— There is no indication that the border patrol or any United States authority did anything wrong, but this has not stopped the media and Democrats from implying or outright stating the deaths are the fault of the president’s immigration policy.
— In a Christmas morning availability in the Oval Office, the president told the press, “I can’t tell you when the government is going to be open, I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they want to call it.”
— The White House said there may be room for negotiation. Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said, “We moved off of the five and we hope they move up from their 1.3 [billion],” but Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office says the two sides are “very far apart.”
Reckon’s Yurkanin: Trump, Sessions immigration policy ‘on par’ with efforts to block Jews, Japanese internment during WWII
In the recently released third installment of AL(dot)com-offshoot Reckon’s “Recused, the untold story of Jeff Sessions,” narrator Amy Yurkanin attempted to trace the origins of Sessions’ hawkish position on illegal immigration.
Throughout her presentation, Yurkanin refers to the Trump administration’s policy of following immigration law that requires in some cases the separation of families if that family so chooses to break the law and enter the country illegally.
The policy supported by both President Donald Trump and Sessions, during his time as attorney general, was said to be “on par” with efforts to block Jews and Eastern Europeans and Japanese internment during World War II by opponents of the policy, according to Yurkanin.
“According to Trump and Sessions, the policy was supposed to keep people from crossing the border,” Yurkanin said. “In less than a decade, the nation switched from a GOP president in favor of amnesty to a Republican administration dedicated to clamping down on immigration. To the folks who have opposed the policy, family separation stands on par with legal efforts to block Jews and Eastern Europeans from entering the country, and alongside Japanese internment during World War II, which have been recognized as blights on American history.”
— Alabama’s population only grew by 12,751 people, compared to Texas’ growth of 379,128. West Virginia, Illinois, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York and Wyoming all lost population over the same period.
— The state’s slow rate of growth makes it the 34th fastest growing state. With reapportionment up soon, the state may lose a seat in Congress if the lawsuit Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-5) and Attorney General Steve Marshall filed against the government fails.
6. Alabama police department calls for people to turn away from Satan; Freedom from Religion Foundation attacks them
— The Opp Police Department posted on Facebook that the increased murders in the area are “BECAUSE WE HAVE TURNED AWAY FROM GOD AND EMBRACED SATAN. WE MAY HAVE NOT MEANT TO DO SO BUT, WE HAVE. IT IS TIME TO ASK FOR GOD’S HELP TO STOP THIS”.
— Keeping with the FFRF history of meddling and declaring all things God “illegal,” the organization claimed the post “decried Satanism” and excluded “minority religions and atheism.”
— Republicans, the media and their Democrats were all ecstatic to see a criminal justice reform bill pass. Some called it a bill that will “make communities safer,” even though they call for less prison time for some crimes and more money to be spent on rehabbing prisoners.
— Brooks and the entire Republicans House delegation voted against the final version of the bill and explained, “It is only a matter of time before the verdict on this legislation is rendered: more crime, more crime victims, and more dead Americans. To cite but one major flaw, S. 756 as amended CUTS penalties for gun use during the commission of violent crimes. That is nuts! Further, this soft-on-crime bill even provides for early release of offenders who commit sex crimes, assault law enforcement officers, commit hate crimes, and assist with jailbreaks.”
— A report was released claiming Democrat operatives “experimented” with “tactics now understood to have influenced the 2016 elections.” They created Facebook pages claiming to be conservative and pushing a write-in campaign so Republicans wouldn’t vote for GOP candidate Roy Moore.
— They launched a plan to create a narrative about Moore being supported by Russian bots, pushed it to national media outlets and then delighted as the national media outlets pushed the story for them.
2. Both ALGOP and U.S. Senator Doug Jones condemn the nefarious actions of those who misled voters in the election that put Jones in office
— ALGOP Chairwoman Terry Lathan called these reports “alarming,” adding she found it “deeply disturbing that Democrats took part in this sham.”
— Jones responded by saying he was “outraged,” claiming he had no prior knowledge and called for an investigation by the Federal Elections Commission and Department of Justice.
1. Trump reverses course on his course reversal on border funding as shutdown looms, House cooperates
— After saying he could accept a deal to avoid a shutdown without wall funding, the president faced a torrent of conservative criticism. He then decided he could not accept such a deal and demanded money for a wall.
— The outgoing House of Representatives went back to the drawing board and added $5 billion for the wall. The Senate will now take up the measure but a government shutdown is looming.
— The absurdly named “Birmingham Justice League” has issued the list of demands that the City of Hoover must implement to keep the protests at bay. They include creating a citizen review board, an independent review of minority complaints regarding traffic stops and granting clemency to protesters charged with disorderly conduct.
— The deal requires the city to implement a series of reforms that have very little chance of happening as a whole, but the protests will now move to ALEA and Attorney General Steve Marshall, who is now investigating the case.
5. A GoFundMe account for a border wall has raised over $1.9 million out of a $1 billion sought
— The campaign was started by Brian Kolfage, a 37-year-old injured Iraq war vet who reasoned on his campaign page, “Democrats are going to stall this project by every means possible and play political games to ensure President Trump doesn’t get his victor[y].”
— While the $1 billion requested is far under the $5 billion the president originally requested, it is the max allowable by GoFundMe, but Kolfage is still seeking to raise $80 from every person who voted for Trump which would put his campaign over the $5 billion requested.
— The funding bill will keep the government funded until February 8, 2019. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi lamented the fact that it didn’t go further, saying, “Democrats will be ready to fully, responsibly fund our government in January, and we will support this continuing resolution.”
—Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, the current second highest-ranking Senate Republican, predicted on Wednesday that Trump would sign it. “He will sign a clean [continuing resolution],” Cornyn told CNN.
3. Freedom Caucus is pushing back against Trump’s decision to walk back on the wall
— The group of conservative lawmakers in the House of Representatives implored the president to stick to his previous vow. There are some signs that Trump is wary of walking back his pledge.
— Radio talker Rush Limbaugh and others decried the “compromise” with Limbaugh saying, “Trump gets nothing and the Democrats get everything.”
— The Alabama Ethics Commission dismissed an election year ethics complaint by Marshall’s vanquished opponent Troy King which questioned the legality of Marshall accepting contributions from the Republican Attorneys General Association.
— The commission found they had “insufficient facts” to declare that Marshall violated state law. Former State Senator Dick Brewbacker declared this ruling was a mistake, stating, “The [PAC] to [PAC] ban passed by the legislature (outlawing “soft” money) just became worthless.”
— The Trump White House ordered the Pentagon to pull U.S. troops from Syria, saying that ISIS is defeated so there is no reason to be there.
— Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Angus King (I-ME), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) asked the president to reconsider his latest move with a letter stating, “If you decide to follow through with your decision to pull our troops out of Syria, any remnants of ISIS in Syria will surely renew and embolden their efforts in the region.”
— Multiple advertisers, including NerdWallet and Pacific Life insurance, have pulled advertising from the show. Others like Smile Direct Club have pulled all of their political advertising, which hurts shows that have nothing to do with this “controversy.”
— Multiple media outlets have carried lists of advertisers and boosted the outlets giving them steam, but Carlson and Fox News have made it clear they will not be cowed by efforts to silence opinions.
6. The sick Guatemalan child that was dragged across a desert to enter the United States illegally, not as an asylum seeker, died of sepsis, but her father lied and said she wasn’t sick
— After denying to border patrol agents that his daughter was sick when apprehended in the U.S., she had not been able to consume water or food for days and it has been determined she likely died of sepsis.
— In a statement issued by his lawyers, he said he was “grateful for the many first responders that tried to save young Jakelin’s life in New Mexico and Texas” and now says the daughter had food and water which contradicts what he told agents.
— Grover Norquist sent a letter to Alabama state senators asking them to reconsider a newly proposed gas tax urging, “[T]hey reject the aggressive, but misguided push to hike the state gas tax, a proposal that would diminish and, in some cases, could totally erase the relief that your constituents have received from federal tax reform. ”
— The ATR president noted gas taxes were defeated at the ballot box in “Missouri, Utah, and Washington State” in November. He also mentioned the taxes hit poor citizens the hardest.
—The bill has many measures, which includes changing the sentencing on crack to mirror powder cocaine, changes n the “3 strike law,” gives judges more discretion when sentencing some drug offenders, boosts prisoner rehabilitation efforts and allow some prisoners a path to early release.
— The president and supporters of this bill say that the bill will “keep our communities safe,” but a check of prison stats will tell you that people in prison are there for a reason: “74.4 percent of all prisoners in the United States were serving sentences for one of just 11 offenses: murder, manslaughter, rape, sexual assault, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, car theft, fraud, “other” violent offenses, and weapons violations. Just 15.2 percent of them were serving time for drug offenses (only 3 percent for drug possession).”
— A federal judge delayed former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s sentencing. The judge also questioned whether Flynn committed treason and said he “sold” the county out before walking back both allegations.
— After months of talk about what happened with Flynn and the FBI, it becomes clear Flynn has cooperated, knew he was lying and now accepts that he willfully lied, but the White House continues to imply Flynn is a victim.
— After issuing a threat of a partial government shutdown if he did not get $5 billion for his wall, President Trump is apparently “extremely flexible,” according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on that issue and may be looking to get the wall done in another way.
— One-third of conservatives would pay for the wall with their own money, 19 percent said they would pay an additional $100, 19 percent said they would pay $300 and two percent said they would pay more than $1,000 per year.